05/29/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dodd Praises Kennedy's Resolve: 'I Wouldn't Want To Be That Tumor'

Senator Chris Dodd, who is perhaps Senator Ted Kennedy's closest friend in the U.S. Senate, struck a hopeful chord on this morning's Good Morning America, where he told host Diane Sawyer that Kennedy was in high spirits, good humor, and eager to return to the political fray. Above all, Dodd related that Kennedy was determined to fight his cancer, saying, "He has been through a great deal as you and I know, he's going to be in this fight. I have a lot of confidence. I wouldn't want to be that tumor. With Teddy Kennedy fighting back you're in trouble. We look back to him putting on a great fight."


SAWYER: Tell me about the first call you made to him, what was the first thing he said to you on the phone?

DODD: He said these nurses are being outrageous, waking me up at 2:00 in the morning, poking me. Just about four days ago, Diane, we were here. I have my 6-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, and they get absolutely giddy, in a frenzy, around him because he makes animal sounds and noises and those two great dogs of his, Sonny and Splash, were out with my daughters and Teddy in the yard here, throwing and whacking tennis balls around. He just has a great joy of life. You know him well, he's a fighter. You used the right word, he's a gladiator when it comes to these issues, and he's going to do everything he can. He's got a great family around him, Vicki is remarkable. Got a great team of doctors. And he's a positive individual, he always has been. He has been through a great deal as you and I and the country knows, and he's going to be in this fight. And I have a lot of confidence. I wouldn't want to be that tumor. With Teddy Kennedy fighting back you're in trouble. We're looking forward to him coming back here and putting on a great fight. He's missed already. We have got some great battles coming up here in the coming weeks. Even his opponents, I'll tell you, are going to miss him here in this contest. We want him back as soon as he can get on his feet and get back here.

SAWYER: For everyone out there - and I know he'd want to help everybody out there. Looking back, did he indicate to you that there might have been other symptoms that he didn't pay attention to?

DODD: No, not at all. In fact, we talk every day. He was doing fine. Looking good, feeling good. In fact, I noticed the other day, he seemed to have a good light step in him. He was looking forward to get into that boat of his. When I talked to him over the weekend, he was planning to get on that boat the morning he was hit with this problem. and so he's had no indication -- I saw no indication, I saw nothing but a healthy guy who was looking forward to the battles of this week, next week, on some of the big issues here, getting ready for the health care battles and a Democratic victory in November and be prepared to really take on the health care issue in January. I saw nothing to indicate to me but a positive guy looking forward. And I see that today as well, Diane. Talk to Vicki, talk to him, he's very very upbeat, he's a fighter, he's looking at this in a very positive way. He doesn't like the funereal kind of cape-draping kind of attitude. He's with us. He hasn't gone anywhere. And he intends to be back here and fighting.

SAWYER: He's on past the seizure, no physical impaired from that?

DODD: No. Not at all, and in fact the attitude on the issues here that needs to be done, the politics...if I didn't know any better, I would think I'm having a normal conversation with a guy who has the best sense of humor I know, who loves to fight back, cares about politics and substance. That's the conversation.

SAWYER: What's the last thing you said to him in your last conversation?

DODD: Well I was teasing with him. Yesterday I passed out of the Banking Committee my housing bill: 19-2. I said here I have my best day legislatively in weeks and you've got to have a press conference on something else. So he got a great belly laugh over that.

SAWYER: Well, again, Senator Dodd, we really do appreciate your being with us this morning, and we hope in your phone conversations you'll let him know how everybody in the country is praying for him.

DODD: You bet I will.